10 Safety Tips to Prevent Accidents and Injuries While Riding Your Motorcycle in Utah
With its jagged cliffs, sweeping deserts, and yawning skies, Utah is tough to beat when it comes to natural scenery, making it a prime destination for local and out-of-state motorcyclists alike. Whether you’re cruising down Route 66 along the Wasatch Mountains, looking for views of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, or riding down Nebo Loop Road (which is officially recognized as a scenic byway by the Department of Transportation), there are plenty of striking sights to take in. However, while Utah makes a great destination for motorcyclists of all skill levels, its roads can also be hazardous. In 2014, there were 1,179 motorcycle accidents in Utah, causing dozens of deaths and more than a thousand injuries. By following these 10 simple tips, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting into a crash.
Safety Tips to Avoid Getting Hit by a Car While Motorcycling
Despite representing only 2.2% of all vehicular accidents in Utah in 2014 (1,179 out of 54,036), motorcycle crashes were responsible for nearly 6% of traffic injuries, and more than 20% of traffic fatalities. Nearly 60% of motorcycle crashes in 2014 involved at least one additional vehicle, which makes other drivers the leading cause of death and injury among motorcyclists in Utah.
Many accidents occur because drivers either fail to spot motorcyclists, engage in reckless driving, or violate basic traffic laws. In order to give yourself the best chance of avoiding an accident with another vehicle, always follow these simple safety tips:
- Wear bright clothing to make yourself more visible to other motorists. For example, you could wear a yellow shirt under your leather jacket.
- Check to make sure your headlights are working before you start your ride, especially if you anticipate being on the road at night or dusk. Like bright clothing, good lighting will help other drivers notice you before it’s too late. It’s also important that you are able to signal before turning, so that other drivers know your intentions.
- Maintain a safe following distance between yourself and other vehicles. It may be tempting to push the maneuverability of your motorcycle, but speeding and weaving – especially in combination – are recipes for disaster.
- Flash your brake lights as a warning whenever you are going to stop or significantly reduce your speed.
- Drive defensively and be alert. Enjoy the natural scenery, but don’t forget to scan the road for erratic driving, drivers who are on their cell phones, and potholes or debris in the road ahead.
- If you’re planning on a weekend ride, consider going on Sunday instead of Saturday. As we found in our article on the most dangerous days of the week for riding a motorcycle, Saturdays saw nearly twice as many crashes as Sundays in 2014.
Ways to Reduce the Risk of Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries
While other motorists are often at fault for motorcycle accidents in Utah, about 40% of crashes don’t involve any other vehicles. To reduce your risk of being injured in a solo crash, don’t forget about these tips, either:
- Always wear a helmet, even if you’re a motorcycling expert. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Helmets are about 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries.” Over half of the victims of fatal Utah motorcycle accidents in 2014 were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
- You should also wear tough, high-quality leather gear, such as a leather jacket and leather pants. Other than your helmet, leather gear is your only line of defense against injuries if an accident occurs. If you ride in a t-shirt and jeans, your skin will have no protection at all from road rash abrasion injuries, which can leave permanent scars.
- Never ride your motorcycle while you are impaired or intoxicated. Not only does drunk driving in Utah significantly increase your risk of a crash – it’s also a good way to get charged with DWI.
- Always avoid motorcycling if you feel ill, fatigued, or sleepy. Research has shown that fatigue can be even more hazardous than intoxication in terms of interference with normal performance. According to a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “After 17-19 hours without sleep… performance on some tests was equivalent or worse than that at a BAC of 0.05%.”
Our Utah Personal Injury Firm Represents Motorcycle Crash Victims
Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid common motorcycle injuries so that you can enjoy another summer of safe, happy riding – but if you do get into a collision, turn to the Utah personal injury law firm of Overson Law for aggressive legal representation. If you were hit by a car while riding your motorcycle in Utah, the driver who caused the accident could be liable for your expenses. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get compensated for a motorcycle crash in Utah, including medical bills, lost earnings, and other hardships.
Call Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer Darwin Overson at (801) 895-3143 for a free consultation. Darwin has decades of experience handling motorcycling injury claims throughout the state of Utah.